Most scientific research is not wrapped up in a single study. Rather they go on for years. New data is added. Hypotheses are disproven or updated. SRMP research is often no different.
Last year I wrote about a study of the Blue-crowned Manakin (Lepidothrix coronata) conducted by Mazie and Ethan alongside mentor Jessica Shearer McKay . The team was investigating whether this widely distributed Amazonian bird was hiding more morphological and genetic diversity than previously described. Males of these species show the most phenotypic diversity with their crowns being all shades of blue and some subspecies have black bodies, others lime green.
Mazie and Ethan had seventeen individuals from Brazil, Costa Rica, Brazil, and Bolivia. Jessica’s new students, Nafilah and Desiree are adding several more specimens and widening the sampling to include Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela and Peru. A more complete geographic sampling will hopefully help resolve taxonomic uncertainties of this beautiful little bird: There are currently several sub-species. Are there more? And do these subspecies delineation correspond to major river basins? Are large rivers barriers to dispersal and therefore explain genetic and morphological difference observed across it’s range? Jessica thinks more birds clarify things - but not before making the story even more complicated! We shall see.